Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in Nicaragua
Authorities from various institutions directly or indirectly related to the protection of Nicaragua's cultural heritage participated in a workshop organised by UNESCO to promote the ratification of the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of ratifying the Convention for the protection of the country's underwater cultural heritage.
The workshop gathered several national institutions, which reflects the inter-ministerial nature of the matter. The activity was attended by Mrs. Sumaya Castillo, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources and her team, the Architect Luis Morales Alonso, Co-Director General of the Nicaraguan Institute of Culture (INC) and his team, members of the National Assembly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the Nicaraguan Institute of Fisheries, the Nicaraguan Army, and the Nicaraguan Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO. The workshop consisted of a series of presentations by UNESCO cultural heritage specialists and included a question-and-answer session with a legal expert on underwater cultural heritage.
The 2001 Convention establishes basic principles and commonly recognised practices for the treatment and investigation of archaeological remains completely or partially submerged. This heritage is not only a testimony to the history of peoples and the construction of their identities: it is also an essential resource for the design of policies and opportunities for economic growth, as well as for achieving the Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
However, in Nicaragua, as in many countries, underwater cultural heritage is threatened by the aggressive exploitation of marine resources and the destructive practice of treasure hunters, among other dangers. UNESCO urges Member States to equip themselves with the legal instruments and specialised human resources to address these threats and to harness the full potential of underwater cultural heritage for the benefit of sustainable development.